Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad (Psalm 105:3).

In the oriental world, a name meant much more than just a verbal designation or a vocal verbalizing of sounds. A name told something of the character of the person to whom it belonged. To know the name of a person was to have power over him. The names of the various pagan deities were used to call forth their power.

The names of God are not man-made. We read in Genesis 2 of how God created the animals and brought them to man and how it was man who named them. But this is not the case in the names of God. They are given by God Himself. This suggests that they tell us something about Him.



For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of Asaph

Sing for joy to God our strength;

Shout joyfully to the God of Jacob. (Psalm 81:1).

On the day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the Temple Choir Director would issue this summons to call the people for this special day of worship and celebration. Their voices would echo over the city walls and out across the hills of Judah. From all over the country, the people would come to Jerusalem. The call was for the people of Israel to come and to worship Elohim.

1. The Various Uses of Elohim.

The use of the Hebrew term Elohim is not used exclusively for the One True God, although the vast majority of times it is used in the Old Testament it does refer to the Deity.

Refers to God

Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

Refers to false gods

Exodus 34:17. You shall make for yourself no molten gods.

Numbers 25:2. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods

Moses is said to stand in the place of God to Pharaoh

Exodus 7:1. Then the LORD said to Moses, "See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet." Note that the word "as" may be understood, but is not a part of the original text.

Possibly a reference to human judges

Exodus 22:7-9. If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him, and it is stolen from the man's house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double. 8 If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor's property. 9 For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, 'This is it,' the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.

Psalm 82:6. I said, "You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High."

Used of something that is great

Jonah 3:3. So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days' walk.

In each of these instances, there is an underlying idea of strength and majesty, even when it is wrongly ascribed as in the case of the false gods.

2. The Various Forms of Elohim.

The Hebrew language has three different forms of the word "God." Each one is correctly translated "God" in our English Bibles, yet each has a slightly different connotation.

This is the Hebrew word for "strength" It describes one who is strong. In this way, it is often used of God. Of the 250 times it is used of God in the Old Testament, 55 are in the book of Job. Many of the other instances take place in early poetic sources.

Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, "Thou art a God who sees"; for she said, "Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?" (Genesis 16:13).

This is a compound name made up of the joining together of El, the word for "God" and Alah, "to swear or take an oath." This form is used about 57 times in the Old Testament, most often in the book of Job amidst the dialogues of Job and his three friends.

May that day be darkness; Let not God above care for it, Nor light shine on it. (Job 3:4).

This is the most commonly used of these three forms. It is found 2570 times in the Old Testament. It is the plural form of Eloha.

This has been generally explained as a "plural of majesty" or "plural of intensity." But all the related ancient Near Eastern cultures use the singular form El without a single case of Elohim -- there are no ancient Near Eastern parallels to support this usage. Furthermore, each time the Old Testament speaks of a single false god, it uses the term El instead of Elohim.

On the other hand, it should be recognized that plural nouns with singular verbs may also be applied to humans: But Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, "No! Our lord (Adonai, "lord") King David has made Solomon king." (1 Kings 1:43).

We should also add that when Elohim is used to refer to the true God, it is almost always accompanied by a singular verb and pronoun: In the beginning God (Elohim) created (literally, "HE created") the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1). Another suggested translation could read: "In the beginning Elohim Himself created the heavens and the earth."

This means that we should probably not see the plural form of Elohim as an evidence for the Trinity. We do not believe in three gods. There is only one God. The plural use of Elohim seems instead to be a plural of majesty and immensity. This is indicated by the fact that it nearly always is used with a singular verb.

One notable exception to this rule is found in Genesis 1:26 where we see Elohim used in the context of a plural pronoun.

Then God (Elohim) said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (Genesis 1:26).

It has been suggested that the plurality pictured here and again in Genesis 11:7 is that of the Trinity. This is grammatically possible from the text. On the other hand, this could also be a similar usage to the plural of majesty and immensity.

The world today has become very irreverent toward God. He is called "the man upstairs." Others wish to think of Him as an impersonal force. Philosophers have declared that God is dead or at least irrelevant. These are all false concepts of God. They miss some of the majesty of God. They do not describe the Elohim -- the Strong One. They do not describe the Creator of heaven and earth. They do not describe the One who holds the universe together by His own strength.

It the same way, our own thoughts of God are often too human. We tend to put our own attributes into our concept of God.

Your concept of God is important. It will determine your response to God. It is only as you have a proper concept of God that you will be able to produce proper fruit in your life.

A shallow, plastic knowledge of God will result in shallow, plastic fruit in your Christian life. Have you ever seen plastic fruit? It looks good. It is shiny and polished. It is only when you try to bite into it that you find out that it is false. It is only an illusion of the real thing. You need to know the real God and have a real relationship with Him so that He can produce real fruit in your life. You need to recognize the God who is there. You need to get to know the Strong One.



Though the name "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" is used in the early pages of the Bible, it is not until the book of Exodus that the meaning of the name is explained. It takes place in the context of God’s revelation of Himself to Moses.

Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. 3 So Moses said, "I must turn aside now, and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up."

When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then He said, "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." 6 He said also, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3:1-6).

The scene is the Sinai Desert. Into this hot, arid region comes Moses. He is a fugitive from Egypt, having escaped from the consequences of a past murder. He has found refuge in the tents of a wealthy sheik named Jethro. Over the years, he has taken a wife from among the daughters of Jethro and he has settled down to become a simple shepherd.

The years pass by until one day when Moses comes upon a strange sight. It is a bush burning on the slopes of a mountain. The strange thing is not the bush or the fact that it is burning, but that it continues to burn without burning up the bush. His curiosity aroused, Moses moves closer to investigate. As he does, God speaks to him from the midst of the bush.

God first instructs Moses to show proper reverence for the ground upon which he stands. He is to do this by removing his sandals. Forever afterward, the priests would enter the Temple of God barefoot in order to show the same reverence.

Next the Lord identifies Himself to Moses:

He said also, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3:6).

Moses had come out of Egypt. The land of Egypt was filled with gods. There was a god of the harvest and a god for the rain and a god for the sun and a god for the river and a god for the cattle. There was a god for everything in Egypt.

But God identifies Himself as the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He is the God of Moses’ ancestors.

Hundreds of years earlier, God had appeared to Abraham and had promised Him certain things. The entire history of the Israelite people had been laid out in a detailed prophecy:

And God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. 14 But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions. 15 And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete." (Genesis 15:13-16).

Along with those promises, God had involved Himself in an elaborate covenant ritual, binding Himself to Abraham with a legal contract. This involved an ancient ceremony in which several animals were killed and their carcasses cut in two and placed in a long row. The parties involved in the covenant would then walk down the center aisle between the dead carcasses while reciting the terms of the covenant. The idea was that if either party broke the terms of the covenant, he would suffer a similar fate to those animals who had been killed and cut asunder.

This is the kind of covenant into which God had bound Himself to Abraham. He had instructed Abraham to cut the animals in two and arrange them into two groups. Then the presence of the Lord moved down the row between the pieces of the animals as He recited the terms of the covenant.

And it came about when the sun had set, that it was very dark, and behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite 20 and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim 21 and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite." (Genesis 15:17-21).

Now God tells Moses that He is the same God who made the covenant with Abraham. He is the same God who repeated the same promises to Isaac and to Jacob. He is the God of Israel, even though they have become enslaved in Egypt. He is known as the God who promises.

He has not forgotten His promises. He is now going to bring them to fulfillment. Notice what He says to Moses.

And the LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. 8 So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. (Exodus 3:7-8).

Do you see it? These are the same words that the Lord had spoken to Abraham. He now says that He is going to keep the promise that He had made to Abraham. The terms of that covenant will be fulfilled. What God had promised so many hundreds of years earlier would now come to pass.

God is going to deliver the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. He is going to lead them through the wilderness. He is going to bring them to the land of promise.

Moses is called to return to Egypt with this message. Up to this point, Moses has been nodding his head and thinking to himself, "This is quite a good thing." But now he has an objection:

Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?"

And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’"

And God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations." (Exodus 3:13-15).

This was a significant question. In the ancient world, the name of a person or a city or a deity was not without meaning. The name of a person would often describe an attribute of that person. Likewise, the name of a deity would usually indicate some specific attribute of that deity.

For example, the name "Jesus" is a Greek rendition of the Hebrew name "Joshua" and means "Yahweh saves." Thus, to believe in the name of Jesus is to believe in the saving work which His name implies (John 1:12; Acts 3:16).

As Moses confronts God, he asks for a name. There are two answers given.

1. "I AM WHO I AM."

This first answer is the repetition of the verb "I AM." This is the Qal imperfect of hayah ("to be"). The fact that the imperfect is used means that we could translate this as "I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE." The name indicates the attribute of continuing existence. He describes Himself as the Continuing God.

The central importance of this verse is further emphasized by the fact that it serves as the pivotal point of a chiastic parallel:

Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’" (3:13)

Now they may say to me, "What is His name?"

What shall I say to them?

And God said to Moses


and He said,

Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel,

"I AM has sent me to you."

And God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’" (3:15)

2. "THE LORD" or "YAHWEH."

It appears that the y is preformative to the root word hayah, the older form and rare synonym of hawah ("to be") which would make it a 3rd masculine singular Qal imperfect ("HE WILL BE"). This would be a reference to the previous phrase "I AM WHO I AM."

A problem arises in that is said to be the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, even though in Exodus 6:3 the Lord says that He was not known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by the name Yahweh.

God spake further to Moses, and said to him, "I am the LORD; 3 and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them." (Exodus 6:2-3).

As early as Genesis 4:26 we read that "men began to call upon the name of ." There also seem to be references where the name was spoken to Abraham (Genesis 18:14; 22:14). We can surmise one of two possibilities:

The name Yahweh is further described in Exodus 3:14-15 as the name of the Lord "forever" and as His "memorial name to all generations" (Exodus 3:15). The Hebrew text presents this as more of a parallel:

This is My name...


This way I am to be remembered...


To generation after generation.

More than a thousand years after Moses, a Galilean rabbi stood in the temple in Jerusalem and boldly proclaimed, "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58), echoing the same ego eimi of the Septuagint (the LXX adds the present participle of µ to say in effect, "I am the Existing One"). The use of the Greek present tense accords with the Hebrew imperfect of Exodus 3:14, both indicating a continuing state of existence.






Jehovah MeKaddesh

The Lord who sanctifies

And you shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the LORD who sanctifies you. (Leviticus 20:8).

Jehovah Tsidkenu

The Lord our righteousness

"Behold, the days are coming," declares the LORD, "When I shall raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’" (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Jehovah Jireh

The Lord shall Provide

Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. 14 And Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, "In the mount of the LORD it will be provided." (Genesis 22:13-14).

Jehovah Shalom

The Lord is Peace

When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, "Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face." 23 And the LORD said to him, "Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die."

Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace. (Judges 6:22-24a).

Jehovah Shammah

The Lord is There

The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, "The LORD is there." (Ezekiel 48:35).

Jehovah Rapha

The Lord Your Healer

Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore it was named Marah. 24 So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?"

Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. 26 And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer." (Exodus 15:22-26).

Jehovah Ra’ah

The Lord is my Shepherd

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).

Jehovah Nissi

The Lord is my Banner

And Moses built an altar, and named it The LORD is My Banner (Exodus 17:15).

Jehovah Sabaoth

The Lord of Hosts

Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted (1 Samuel 17:45).

And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to Baale-judah, to bring up from there the ark of God which is called by the Name, the very name of the LORD of hosts who is enthroned above the cherubim (2 Samuel 6:2).

Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory (Psalm 24:10).



El Elyon

God Most High

I will cry to God Most High, To God who accomplishes all things for me. (Psalm 57:2). See also Genesis 14:18-22.

El Shaddai

God Almighty

Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless." (Genesis 17:1).

El Olam

Everlasting God

And Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God (Genesis 21:23).



There is a sense in which all men can be said to be the offspring of God in that He is the Creator of all that exists (Acts 17:29). Yet in a very strict sense, it is only in the pages of the New Testament that we are presented with the specific theme of God as our Father. When Jesus was asked by His disciples as to how they ought to pray, He began with this very personal title for God: "Our Father who art in heaven..."

The words of Jesus are echoed in an Old Testament promise that is cited by the Apostle Paul as he calls Christians to a life of holiness:

"Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18 And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).

That which was only hinted at in the prophets today comes to us in full fruition as we are able to turn to the Lord as our Heavenly Father.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:14-17).


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